These button earrings, handcrafted by acclaimed Santo Domingo lapidarist and silversmith Jimmy Calabaza, showcase a beautiful gem with a modern design. The turquoise and sterling silver pair perfectly giving these earrings and bold yet elegant look. The turquoise has beeen cut by the hands of the artist and carefully inlaid to form bringing attention to the unique pattern of the gemstone. These versatile and contemporary button earrings will complement both casual and formal wear.
- Earrings handcrafted by Jimmy Calabaza (Santo Domingo Pueblo)
- Sterling silver
- Post and clutch closure
- Earrings measure 1-1/4” long x 1-1/8” wide
- Comes with a signed Certificate of Authenticity
Handcrafted works of Native American art require special care. For more information about proper care and cleaning, please read our Care Guide.
Jimmy Calabaza, also known by his native name Ca’win, is a well-recognized and skilled Santo Domingo Pueblo artist who has built a name for himself amongst collectors both as a lapidarist and silversmith. Calabaza’s handmade smooth polished turquoise beads have become his signature as well as “side box” necklaces, and his use of heavy gauge silver in his pieces. Infusing traditional elements of Santo Domingo designs in the creation of contemporary masterpieces his pieces are true collector quality.
Turquoise beads have been made in the Southwest for thousands of years. The Anasazi, the ancestors of today’s Pueblo Indian tribes, mined turquoise in Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. Chaco Canyon, a major Anasazi center, was at the center of turquoise trade routes stretching from the Pacific Northwest to Central America. Turquoise was not set in silver until the late 19th century after Navajo and Zuni artisans learned metalsmithing. The blue and green gem quickly became a favorite with Native American silversmiths, and was extremely popular with tourists visiting the Southwest in the early 20th century. Some Native Americans believe the gem was a gift from the spirits and call it the Sky Stone. Today, turquoise is one of the most iconic images of the Southwest and is still revered among Native American jewelry artists.
In Santo Domingo Pueblo, bead-making has been a central part of life for centuries. These beads are known as “heishi,” which means “shell” in the Santo Domingo language Keres. Most heishi beads are rolled into smooth flat discs, but heishi can refer to any small beads that have been made by hand. Heishi may be the oldest form of jewelry in New Mexico, and necklaces with similar bead styles have been found in the ancient Anasazi sites Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde. The process is extremely labor intensive, and it can take up to two weeks to make a single strand of heishi beads. First, the shell or gemstone is sliced into strips, then clipped by hand into small squares. These unfinished beads are drilled and strung on a fine wire. Next, the artist turns the string of beads against a stone wheel to make them round, further shaping and smoothing with sandpaper. Finally, the beads are run against a leather belt to achieve a fine polish. Today, fewer and fewer artists are creating their beads by hand, making true handcrafted heishi necklaces an extremely valuable piece for art and jewelry collectors.Read our Native American Jewelry Collector's Guide.
At Shumakolowa Native Arts, we guarantee that your purchase is an original and authentic work handcrafted by Native American artists as defined by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. Our team of experts carefully inspects every product to guarantee it is handcrafted using traditional, sustainable processes and natural materials of only the highest quality. We work directly with artists or partner with trusted wholesalers who can provide documentation that their artists and artisans are of Native American heritage. We record the place and date of each purchase and pride ourselves in paying a fair price that allows artists to make a living practicing their craft. Every work of handcrafted art comes with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by an artist or buyer. At a time when many commercially-made products are being sold as handcrafted Native American art, we stand behind the authenticity of every unique piece of fine art we offer. For more than 35 years, we have developed lasting relationships with artists, dealers and collectors, and we take pride in being a trusted destination for fine Native American art.